Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT)
GIFT (Gamete Intra-Fallopian Transfer) is a method of Assisted Reproductive Technology in which eggs and sperm are placed in one of woman’s fallopian tube for further natural fertilization.
This method can be offered to couples who have fertility issues related to a low sperm count, cervical problems, ovulation problems, endometriosis or struggle with unexplained infertility. Some couples prefer this technique due to ethics reasons as fertilization happens naturally inside the woman’s body. Before starting a gamete intra-fallopian transfer procedure woman needs to check the transparency of her fallopian tubes and at least one tube must be clear otherwise she should not apply for GIFT. Woman should check her hormonal status before moving to GIFT to be sure her ovarian reserve is not declined. It is also necessary to examine an uterine lining. For this reason doctor will ask to perform endovaginal ultrasound and other medical analysis such as blood tests, urine tests, etc. Man undergoes medical examination as well. Doctor may prescribe some medical pills or vitamins to a man to improve a sperm quality.
If the tube (s) transparency is confirmed and patients health condition is quite good, doctor prescribes hormonal medications to stimulate a multiple eggs growth. The process of eggs maturation takes place in the follicles and carefully monitored by the ultrasound. Hormonal treatment lasts two weeks. When the follicles are grown enough, doctor performs an ovary puncture. During the puncture eggs are extracted by a thin needle which is inserted through the vaginal wall to the ovary.
When the eggs are retrieved, they are mixed with the partner’s sperm in laboratory.
In about three hours before the GIFT procedure sperm sample is obtained from patient’s partner. Sperm is selected and washed in the lab before it is mixed with the eggs. After that the mixture is loaded into a thin catheter and doctor inserts this mixture into the fallopian tube through the cervix via a catheter or performs a laparoscopy if needed.
During the laparoscopy doctor makes a small cut in abdomen. Through this cut a mixture of eggs and sperm is inserted into the fallopian tube. Depending on the patient’s age and health condition doctor places 2-4 eggs into the fallopian tube. Other retrieved eggs of good quality are frozen.
Implantation happens when one of the eggs is successfully fertilized in the tube and becomes the embryo, which attaches to the uterine wall and continues its further growth.
It is advised to do a pregnancy test in 2 weeks since the GIFT is provided.
Advantages of GIFT
+ natural conception as fertilization happens naturally in the woman’s body
+ can be an option for the couples who deny IVF due to religious opinions
Disadvantages of GIFT
- the pregnancy rate is not high
- there is a risk of multiple pregnancy because doctor usually transfers more than 1 egg. Woman may face the complications during the multiple pregnancy such as premature child birth and etc..
- there is a risk of ectopic pregnancy because eggs and sperm are placed into the tube.
- women have to undergo a laparoscopy
The cost of GIFT procedures can be different and depends on health condition of the patients and the country where it is provided. In some countries it can be funded by the government and sometimes it is not. Patients may do GIFT abroad if it costs much in their home-country.
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